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ACS Nano. 2010 Jan 26;4(1):439-51. doi: 10.1021/nn901322d.

Tailoring of the nanotexture of mesoporous silica films and their functionalized derivatives for selectively harvesting low molecular weight protein.

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Department of Nanomedicine and BioMedical Engineering, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


We present a fast, efficient, and reliable system based on mesoporous silica chips to specifically fractionate and enrich the low molecular weight proteome. Mesoporous silica thin films with tunable features at the nanoscale were fabricated using the triblock copolymer template pathway. Using different templates and concentrations in the precursor solution, various pore size distributions, pore structures, and connectivity were obtained and applied for selective recovery of low mass proteins. In combination with mass spectrometry and statistic analysis, we demonstrated the correlation between the nanophase characteristics of the mesoporous silica thin films and the specificity and efficacy of low mass proteome harvesting. In addition, to overcome the limitations of the prefunctionalization method in polymer selection, plasma ashing was used for the first time for the treatment of the mesoporous silica surface prior to chemical modification. Surface charge modifications by different functional groups resulted in a selective capture of the low molecular weight proteins from serum sample. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that the ability to tune the physicochemical properties of mesoporous silica surfaces, for a selective enrichment of the low molecular weight proteome from complex biological fluids, has the potential to promote proteomic biomarker discovery.

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